Edmund S. Morgan is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale. His most recent book is The Genuine Article: A Historian Looks at Early America. (June 2011)


The American Who Spied for the British

Edward Bancroft; artist unknown

Edward Bancroft: Scientist, Author, Spy

by Thomas J. Schaeper
Edward Bancroft (1744–1821), the subject of Thomas Schaeper’s engaging biography, was an American who became a singularly well-situated spy for the British. By providing a wealth of detail about the life and times of this much-execrated man, Schaeper balances and softens what has conventionally been seen as Bancroft’s harsh character.

How Black & White America Took Shape

Members of the Ku Klux Klan parading in Washington, D.C., September 1926

The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations

by Ira Berlin

The History of White People

by Nell Irvin Painter
As Ira Berlin tells it, an American, born in Ethiopia, confronted a hostile audience of other black Americans. “I am African and I am an American citizen,” he said; “am I not African American?” The answer, “No, no, no, not you,” came from men and women who claimed the name …

Jefferson’s Concubine

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

by Annette Gordon-Reed
Monticello in its present incarnation is an American showplace, the visible projection of its creator, Thomas Jefferson, architect, naturalist, diplomat, and president of the United States. Apart from Abraham Lincoln, who himself quoted Jefferson in the Gettysburg Address, no American ever wrote or said anything as eloquent as the preamble …

Jefferson & Betrayal

Friends of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and Agrippa Hull: A Tale of Three Patriots, Two Revolutions, and a Tragic Betrayal of Freedom in the New Nation

by Gary B. Nash and Graham Russell Gao Hodges

Freedom's Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers

by Richard S. Newman
Liberty had many friends in the eighteenth century. Here, in the book by Gary Nash and Graham Hodges, are three who took a stand for it in the American Revolution. Agrippa Hull of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a free black American, fought for it in the Continental Army as an orderly to …

A Very Satisfied Survivor

The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History

by Linda Colley
In John Boorman’s charming movie Hope and Glory (1987), young Billy Rohan is carrying on being British in spite of the Blitz, with barrage balloons overhead and a gas mask tucked beneath his school desk. Pointing out “the pink bits” on the world map, his teacher grandiosely catechizes the students …

Our Shaky Beginnings

Captain John Smith: Writings with Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First English Settlement of America

by Captain John Smith

The Jamestown Project

by Karen Ordahl Kupperman
In the procession of anniversary celebrations by which we congratulate our predecessors for begetting us, 2007 is the year to honor our shaky beginnings at Jamestown, Virginia. The 108 men and boys who stepped ashore on May 14, 1607, and the four or five thousand who followed them in the …

Inventing the ‘Liberal Republican’ Mind

Dangerous Nation

by Robert Kagan
In 2003, just as the United States embarked on the war in Iraq, Robert Kagan published a long essay that could be read as a preemptive response to the criticism the war would provoke. Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order was, of course, much …

Barbara Epstein (1928–2006)

Barbara Epstein, my friend and fellow editor for forty-three years, died on June 16. She did much to create The New York Review and she brought her remarkable intelligence and editorial skill to bear on everything that appeared in these pages. We publish here memoirs by some of the writers …